1. Biomedical research and care practices

Research in this area focuses on the transformations of contemporary medicine starting both from the technological innovations introduced in the biomedical and diagnostic procesess, and at the same time from the organisation of healthcare facilities. In particular, the research focuses on the following aspects: the impact of technology in redefining the doctor-patient relationship; changes in patients’ expectations that follow the adoption of new procedures the introduction of innovative analytical instruments; the interaction between knowledge of the various medical specialties, in particular as regards the relationship between medical specialists, general practitioners and paramedical personnel; the characteristics and practices that are structured around the tools and technologies used to manage the increasingly numerous and complex medical data.

This area of research is developed especially along three dimensions:

1.1 – Translational research

1.2 – Big date and biomedical research

1.3 – Personalized medicine


1. 2016 CRABU S., Translational biomedicine in action: Constructing biomarkers across laboratory and benchside. In “Social Theory & Health”, advance online publication, January 6, 2016; doi:10.1057/sth.2015.35.

2. 2014 – NERESINI, F. e Viteritti, A. From Bench to Bed, Back and Beyond: The Four Bs of Biomedical Research. In “Tecnoscienza: Italian Journal of Science & Technology Studies”, 5(1), 5-10.

3. 2014 – CRABU, S. Nanomedicine in the Making. Expectations, Scientific Narrations and Materiality, in  “Tecnoscienza: Italian Journal of Science & Technology Studies”, 5(1), 43-66.

4. 2014 – CRABU, S. Allineare umani, tecnologie e saperi: il lavoro infrastrutturante negli ambienti tecnologicamente densi, in “Studi Orgnanizzativi” 2014/1, pp. 50-72

5. 2013 – Casati S., Crabu S., Lavitrano M. and Turrini M., HeLa. Reconstructing an Immortal Bio, in “Tecnoscienza: Italian Journal of Science & Technology Studies”, vol. 3, n. 2, pp. 147-161.

6. 2012 – LORENZET A. e TURRINI M. (2012) Rischio, cittadinanza e salute tra donazione di sangue e xenotrapianti in F. Neresini and G. Pellegrini (a cura di), Annuario scienza e società 2012, Bologna, il Mulino.

7. 2011 NERESINI, F. Social aspects of biobanking: Citizenship, health and body reconfigurations in Lenk C., Sándor J. and Gordijn B. (eds) Biobanks and Tissue Research: The Public, the Patient and the Regulation, Springer, Dordrecht, pp.65-78.




– From the molecule to the patient. Biomedicalization processes in the knowledge society (2011-2013, PhD research).

Responsible: Stefano Crabu; Scientific Director: Federico Neresini

In relation to the central role played by the relationship between science and technology in contemporary society, the problems arising from the relationship between technology and knowledge are particularly important, especially as regards the recent intersections between biomedical research and clinical practices.  The research in question will be articulated within specific biomedical settings in which a particular methodology of biomedical research, known as traslational research, is practiced. Traslational research is characterized by the possibility of a rapid transfer to the therapeutic and clinical phase of the knowledge emerging from basic research. Moreover, clinical applications can in turn be an important stimulus to research itself. Therefore, based on this innovative process of contiguity between two traditionally separate areas, it is relevant to investigate the ways in which biomedical knowledge emerging from the laboratory and clinical-therapeutic practices are simultaneously reconfigured. The empirical research will be conducted through three case studies. The methodology for the implementation of the three case studies will be an ethnographic approach, especially through ethnographic observation, coupled with in-depth interviews and documentary analysis.


Media, eating disorders and body image (2010-2012).

Head: Claudio Riva

This research is aimed at defining and analyzing media stories regarding eating disorders, defined as areas within which gathering knowledge shaping different awareness of the self and the disease, and defining a set of patterns, behaviors and possible identities. From spectacularized and dramatized everyday life, to the news story and autobiographical diaries of  more and less famous sick persons. Through the use of stereotyped thin bodies or signs of self as exemplifications taken to treat anorexia, bulimia or binge, up to the discussions that take place in a TV studio or in the private space of a pro-Ana or pro-Mia blog, emerging media stories and characters become themselves models for comparing and sharing the experience of illness.

– Uncertainty and order in the methods of prenatal cytogenetic laboratory (2006-2008).

Head: Mauro Turrini

The research is aimed at addressing empirically the secular trend – typical of modern medicine – of incorporating knowledge and scientific instruments within a genealogy, by analyzing a specific case study: the clinical application of the tools of genetic science and, more specifically, the techniques cytogenetic analysis. Two main path of research are explored. First, we intend to evaluate the influence of the “clinical significance” in purely scientific work in the laboratory through a comparison of the different areas in which cytogenetics is used: prenatal and constitutional medicine, and hematology. Second, the inquiry focuses into the prenatal diagnosis, a field that, being originated and developed in the wake of the confluence of the biological study of human physiology and the medical pathology, is paradigmatic of the so-called geneticization of  medicine or medicalization of genetics. Starting from the impact of the lab report in the more complex diagnostic process, the objective is to assess the organizational strategies that manage medical decision making, in which the role of the laboratory is not merely ancillary, but an integral part of clinical work – more properly done both from the gynecologist in the early stages of collection and communication, both, in the most controversial cases, by the geneticist.